- Don’t react in the heat of the moment
It’s so tempting when dealing with a difficult person to let them have it, but that never works. You know what happens, you end up getting in trouble because you were heard fighting with a co-worker. So, take a few minutes or even a day to cool off, exercise, do some deep breathing, put the issue in perspective before you say anything.
- When speaking to a difficult person address the facts, not their personality
Once you get personal with a difficult person you are in for a battle. For example, if a difficult co-worker does not deliver their report to you when it’s due. Never say “you always deliver your work late, you are such a problem” instead say, ‘I may have misunderstood something, but I expected that report yesterday, when can I expect it?”
- Set clear boundaries with this person and then reinforce those boundaries as needed
A difficult person has a tendency to not respect boundaries, whether it’s your personal space, being late, or simply not having manners. Whatever it is, if you do not set boundaries they will not set them for themselves. For example, if a work with someone who arrives 15 minutes late to every meeting with you, instead of being mad you can say “ I have limited time to meet with you and it’s important that our meetings start on time, so the next time you are more then 10 minutes late I would like to reschedule” I promise this works for a while then you may have to say it again.
- Don’t take their behavior personally
I know this is easier said then done. But, you have no reason to take this persons behavior personally, because they treat everyone this way. They treated people before you arrived like this and they will treat people after you are long gone this way, IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
- Learn to detach
Detaching is when you understand that you cannot change this person. Understanding this should give you great relief. How they behave is not your responsibility.